Tipp Council discusses capital improvement levy

TIPP CITY — The Tipp City Council discussed the city’s 10-year capital improvement plan on Monday, going over the necessity of renewing the city’s 10-year capital improvement levy in order to complete that plan during a work session held prior to the council’s regular meeting.

The city’s capital improvement levy is a 0.50 percent, 10-year income levy that voters approved in May 2011. The city’s new 10-year capital improvement plan would require the city to renew that levy in order to complete those projects, as well as purchase replacement vehicles for the street, parks, police, fire, and EMS departments.

Department administrators ranked their planned capital improvements in a spreadsheet that Finance Director John Green presented to the council on Monday evening. The cumulative cost of the program between 2021-2032 is estimated at $28,196,755. The average annual cost would be approximately $2,560,887.

The street projects took up the majority of the costs in the 10-year capital improvement plan. Those projects include annual street resurfacing, alley resurfacing and repairs, curb and sidewalk replacements, stormwater and storm sewer maintenance, adding a pedestrian bridge near Interstate-75 and Kessler-Cowlesville Road, a Second Street culvert replacement, an upgrade to the County Road 25-A and Donn Davis Way intersection traffic signal, the Main Street streetscape project from Hyatt Street to Fifth Street, the County Road 25-A widening project from Springmeade to I-75 exit 6, I-75 interchange improvements, CSX “Quiet Zone” improvements, and the widening of Wagon Wheel Drive along the river and the Tippecanoe Family Aquatic Center. The street department also has a number of planned vehicle replacements, including approximately six dump trucks, three pickup trucks, an asphalt roller, a street sweeper, and more.

For fire and EMS, the departments’ more urgent needs include three replacement ambulances, new equipment, and building repairs. Other purchases for the departments include a thermal imaging camera, training mannequins, a Pyxis medication system, and other equipment.

For the police department, its 10-year plan includes the replacement of approximately a dozen police vehicles, including mostly cruisers, as well as the replacement of body cameras, the purchase of new radios, and an impound lot.

For the parks capital improvement fund, the more urgent projects include asphalt resurfacing at the aquatic center, safety equipment for the City Park and Kyle Park, a parking lot for third street, demolishing the parks garage, and adding a pole barn for the parks and street departments. Other park projects and upgrades include upgraded playground structures at Hathaway Park, Woodlawn Park, and Sycamore Woods; upgrades to the dog park; improvements to restrooms at the City Park tee-ball fields and Kyle Park; and additional parking at the pool and stadium.

For specifically the aquatic center, projects include painting and caulking the pool bottoms, new refrigerators and freezers, replacing the HVAC units, replacing sand in the filters, replacing pumps and motors, replacing the umbrellas, new lifeguard umbrellas and diving boards, upgrades to the concession stand, adding a PolySoft splash pad surface, replacing the activity pool play structure, and painting the pool slide.

The parks department also has a number of vehicle replacements planned, including a one-ton dump truck, four pick-up trucks, three tractors, and two mowers.

For the city’s municipal building, administrative needs in the 10-year capital improvement plan include software upgrades, parking lot improvements, computer replacements, new copier machines, an emergency generator of the municipal building, upgrades to the phone system, a replacement for the tornado siren, and more.

According to Green, without the tax renewal, none of the projects planned for after 2021 would be fully funded. Outside of this levy, the city would have a budget of about $900,000 a year for capital improvements. Green estimated the city would receive between $2.5-2.6 million a year with the levy renewal.

Green provided cost estimates for residents if the 0.5 percent income tax levy was renewed. For a resident earning $50,000 a year, the cost would be approximately $250. For a resident earning $75,000 a year, the cost would be approximately $375 a year.

Council member Mike McFarland asked why the city was not going to try for a permanent improvement levy instead of renewing the 10-year levy. Green said residents and committee members for the levy liked that the city had to come back to residents periodically for re-approval of the levy.

“They like the fact that we’re accountable every 10 years,” Green said.

The council has not yet approved sending this levy to the ballot for a renewal.

Also on Monday evening, the council approved entering into a contract with John R. Jurgenson of Springfield for the 2020 Asphalt Resurfacing Program at a cost of $522,917.00.

The council ended its meeting by going into executive session for the purpose of discussing a complaint against a public employee.